We can’t let this happen, so…
Dear Save Sydenham Library supporters
The Mayor, Sir Steve Bullock, yesterday took the decision to close Sydenham Library on 28 May, along with the other four libraries under threat of closure. He instructed officers between now and the 28 May to seek detailed bids from groups wishing to run the affected libraries and report the outcome in due course to the Mayor and Cabinet.
The Mayor’s decision needs to be approved by the full council meeting on the 1 March, although this could be regarded as a mere formality.
The four groups who have expressed initial interest in running Sydenham Library are: Exam Success Education Centre Limited; Eco Computer Systems; John Laing Integrated Services Ltd and SociaCapita Solutions.
The officers presenting the case for closure at yesterday’s meeting were asked to ensure that the local community will be involved in the discussions about the future of the library. They confirmed that this would be the case.
While the decision is extremely disappointing, especially for the library staff some of whom will be made redundant on 28 May, it is worth noting that without the pressure of the strong borough-wide campaign Sydenham library would have been closed before Christmas and the building would have been put on the Council’s disposal list. An Outreach library service, with a self-issue facility, would have been available at the Naborhood Centre with 10 hours of library staffing per week.
The outcome of the campaign has ensured the library building will continue to provide a service for which it was intended. The Save Sydenham Library Campaign Group will now be working hard to get the best possible deal for local residents from whichever is the successful bidder.
We will keep you informed of developments as they emerge.
As a pleasing footnote: information has recently been received from Lewisham council that it proposes to “locally list” Sydenham Library. This is not a full English Heritage listing with all the protection for a building that this affords. However it is an acknowledgement that the building is of significant importance to the local environment and “has historical value as a Carnegie Library and also architectural value as a piece of well studied architecture in a municipal building”.